Colonials win pivotal match to remain in NEC contention

Samuel Anthony, Staff Reporter

The Robert Morris women’s volleyball team gained an important victory to remain in the Northeast Conference chase with a three-set sweep of the LIU Brooklyn Terriers on Sunday.

After a tough loss on Saturday to LIU Brooklyn, the Colonials needed a bounce back performance to keep close with Sacred Heart, Bryant and LIU in the NEC standings.

While not the prettiest of three-set sweeps, RMU pulled out all three close sets 25-22,25-22, and 25-18.

It was a back and forth affair for much of the first set as neither team could gain momentum. It was Robert Morris who gained the first big lead, going up 19-14 until the Terriers won four straight points to bring it within one. But the Colonials were able to do something in which they have struggled recently: win the first set.

The same could be told of the second set when RMU trailed Saint Francis Brooklyn 22-20, and the crowd could feel the Terriers’ momentum from the noise of the SFBK sideline. But the Colonials turned it around and won the final five points of the set to sneak away with a 2-0 match lead.

From there, it was an RMU team that looked like the best in the conference going up 13-4. Coach Dale Starr then gave some of the younger players on the team in Deja Tamlin, Madelyn Betts, and Schaely Renfrew the opportunity to help get the Colonials a 25-18 set win, sealing the match victory.

But now Robert Morris, sitting at 7-3 in the conference and fourth in the NEC, heads on the road to take on Sacred Heart, currently third in the conference.

“I believe that on any given day any of these top four teams has the capability to win the conference,” said RMU coach Dale Starr, “which is why for the first time in a long time we will have a very competitive conference tournament.”

With four matches remaining in the season for the Colonials, they now have a spot clinched in the NEC Tournament as the current fourth and final seed. But with matches still remaining against Sacred Heart and conference leader Bryant, it will be a fight to take one of the top two seeds in the conference and the right to host an NEC Tournament game.

For teams like Bryant, who are undefeated at home, a home game gives them a near automatic bid to the championship game. While a team like Robert Morris, who has been better on the road this season than at home, may prefer to take their talents to the road for any team willing to take on these road warriors.

But in the end, all that coach Starr and the Colonials care about is reaching that conference championship game. These final games will hopefully prepare the Colonials for the challenges they face in postseason play.